In 2011, congestion was costing Nottingham £160m every year, and commuters accounted for about 70% of congested peak traffic.
To tackle this, Nottingham City Council imposed an annual charge on all city employers who provided 11 or more workplace parking places. The money generated is ring-fenced and has to be spent, by law, on improving public transport and active travel measures.
Since charging began in 2012 the WPL has brought in £73 million of revenue which has gone towards doubling the size of the city’s tram network, the redevelopment of the city’s railway station, and replacing 57 of their diesel buses with zero-emission electric ones. By providing a reliable source of annual revenue, ring-fenced for transport, the WPL helps the council get match funding and has leveraged in £800m since it began.
The levy has improved the city’s air quality because fewer people now drive to work and carbon dioxide emissions have fallen by a quarter since 2015.
Initially, the local Chamber of Commerce was strongly against the idea: it was convinced businesses would leave Nottingham, and investors would be put off. However, the opposite happened: since 2012 the number of businesses in the city has risen by almost a quarter, with a net increase of 23,400 jobs; in part this is because the newest part of the city’s tram network now extends to the south of the city, reaching 20 of the 30 largest employers.
Councillor Adele Williams, in charge of the city’s transport, states:
Offering people good, reliable alternatives to the car is the key to keeping the city moving.
Birmingham now aims to follow Nottingham and introduce an annual £500 per space workplace parking levy as part of a plan to allocate road space away from cars towards bicycles and public transport.